Ploceus megarhynchus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Passeriformes Ploceidae

Scientific Name: Ploceus megarhynchus Hume, 1869
Common Name(s):
English Finn's Weaver, Finn's Baya Weaver, Himalayan Weaver, Yellow Weaver
Taxonomic Source(s): del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A., Fishpool, L.D.C., Boesman, P. and Kirwan, G.M. 2016. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 2: Passerines. Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.
Identification information: 17 cm. Large weaver with yellow rump, uppertail-coverts, head and underparts and dark ear-coverts. Heavily streaked mantle, back and scapulars. Female is duller with paler, more buff-tinged yellow parts, particularly crown and nape. Similar spp. Female/non-breeding male Baya Weaver P. philippinus is smaller with shorter, narrower bill and lacks dark lateral breast-patch. Voice Song is subdued twit-twit-tit-t-t-t-t-t-trrrrr wheeze whee wee we. Calls a harsh twit-twit etc.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2cd+3cd+4cd;C2a(i) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Baral, H., Choudhury, A., Inskipp, C., Rahmani, A. & Laad, P.M.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Gilroy, J., Taylor, J., Ashpole, J
This species has a small, rapidly declining and severely fragmented population as a result of the loss and degradation of terai grasslands, principally through conversion to agriculture and overgrazing. These factors qualify it as Vulnerable.

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is endemic to the terai of the northern Indian subcontinent, where it is known from disjunct populations in Delhi (one record, species not seen since [A. Rahmani in litt. 2016]) and northern Uttar Pradesh, India (species has not been recorded in this area in the last five years [A. Rahmani in litt. 2016]) and adjacent extreme western Nepal where it is a rare breeding resident and summer visitor, and from eastern Nepal (where it is a very rare non-breeding visitor) to Assam (BirdLife International 2001). It has always been very locally distributed, and the disappearance of several colonies in recent decades indicates that it is declining. The population in Nepal is estimated at fewer than 250 birds (Inskipp et al. 2016). The species was found near Rudrapur in Uttarakhand state, India, up until 2005. Since then industrial activities within the area have resulted in a loss of grassland habitat and the species has not been seen since 2005 (P. M. Laad in litt. 2016). Based on surveys in north and north-east India the species has become extremely uncommon (A. Rahmani in litt. 2016). The global population is currently put at fewer than 10,000 mature individuals; however, it has been suggested that there could be fewer than 3,000 mature individuals (R. Bhargava per A. Rahmani in litt. 2012).

Countries occurrence:
India; Nepal
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:649000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):YesExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Number of Locations:11-100Continuing decline in number of locations:Yes
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The population is estimated to number 2,500-9,999 mature individuals, based on an analysis of records in BirdLife International (2001) suggesting the population is unlikely to exceed 10,000 individuals and may well fall well short of this. This equates to 3,750-14,999 individuals in total, rounded here to 3,500-15,000 individuals. However, it has been suggested that the total population could number fewer than 3,000 mature individuals (R. Bhargava per A. Rahmani in litt. 2012).

Trend Justification:  A rapid and on-going population decline is suspected to be occurring, owing to the conversion of terai habitats for agriculture, as well as the effects of trapping for the cage-bird trade. The recent disappearance of colonies from previously occupied sites supports this projected trend.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:2500-9999Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
No. of subpopulations:2-100Continuing decline in subpopulations:Yes
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It inhabits terai marshes and extensive stands of Imperata, Narenga, Phragmites and Saccharum grassland, particularly those that are seasonally inundated, with well-scattered trees, and occasionally interspersed with patchy rice and sugarcane cultivation. It is gregarious, foraging in flocks and breeding (May-September) in colonies. Nests are built in trees, reedbeds, or extensive stands of tall grass. Whilst its movements are poorly understood, populations appear to wander erratically.

Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Generation Length (years):4
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The main threat is the rapid and extensive loss and modification of its habitat. This has occurred as a result of drainage, conversion to agriculture (primarily rice-paddy, sugarcane, mustard and tea), overgrazing by domestic livestock and grass harvesting for thatch production. These threats are compounded by capture for the live bird trade.

During the last 60 years, the Terai region has been almost totally converted to human-dominated landscape with agricultural farms, orchards, factories, canals, roads, expanding villages and cities, and very rapid human population growth. The rising population of crows (Corvus splendens and Corvus macrorhynchos), related to garbage and human habitations, is another threat to the nesting colonies (Bhargava 2000).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
It is considered Critically Endangered in Nepal (Inskipp et al. 2016). It is protected in India, and trapping and trade of the species has been banned since 1991. It has been recorded in very small numbers from Kaziranga, Orang, Dibru-Saikhowa and Manas National Parks, Assam, Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary, West Bengal, Corbett National Park (or at least nearby), Uttar Pradesh, and Sukla Phanta and Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserves, Nepal (H. Baral and C. Inskipp in litt. 2016).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct widespread interviews with bird-trappers to identify population centres, followed by field surveys in remaining habitat to establish its distribution and status. Conduct surveys outside protected areas to establish whether the species is found in significant numbers outside the protected area network. Conduct a detailed survey of the Brahmaputra Valley for this species (A. Rahmani in litt. 2016). Extend, upgrade, link (where possible) existing protected areas and establish new ones in order to conserve remaining tracts of natural grassland across its range. Control livestock-grazing in protected areas to reduce rates of habitat loss and degradation. Promote conservation awareness initiatives focusing on sustainable management of grassland to maximise both thatch productivity for local people and available habitat for threatened grassland birds. Upgrade its legal protection status to Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2016. Ploceus megarhynchus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22719011A94606765. . Downloaded on 20 November 2017.
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